LibriVox recording of A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare.
Magic, fairies, young lovers chasing each other through a forest, a man with a donkey's head, and impish Puck wreaking havoc right and left. What's going on here? It's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare at his most fanciful. The play opens with Theseus, Duke of Athens, preparing for his wedding. Egeus complains to Theseus that his daughter Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius. When Hermia is given the choice between marriage to Demetrius or life as a nun, she and her true love Lysander flee into the forest. Demetrius follows them; and Helena, who loves Demetrius, follows him. Also in the forest are Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, at odds with one another. At Oberon's behest, Puck causes Demetrius to fall in love with Helena -- oops, he missed, that was Lysander instead. Mayhem ensues. In the meantime, a group of bumbling craftsmen rehearses a play. Puck gives one of them, Bottom, the head of an ass and makes Titania fall in love with him. Further hilarity results as Bottom sees nothing at all odd about this. Eventually everything is straightened out, Bottom and the rest "perform" their play, there is a triple wedding, and Puck assures us the whole thing has been a dream. Number of quotes you know: 5 (what fools these mortals be). Useful insults: 19. (Summary by Laurie Anne Walden)
Cast: Theseus, Duke of Athens – Mark F. Smith Egeus, father to Hermia; and Snout, a tinker – John Lieder Lysander, in love with Hermia – mb Demetrius, in love with Hermia – David O'Connell Philostrate, master of the revels – Philippa Quince, a carpenter – Brian Edwards Snug, a joiner – Elizabeth Klett Bottom, a weaver – Simon Taylor Flute, a bellows-mender – David Nicol Starveling, a tailor – Jessica Miller Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons – Cori Samuel Hermia, daughter to Egeus, in love with Lysander – Laurie Anne Walden Helena, in love with Demetrius – Rosalind Wills Oberon, king of the fairies – Fr. Richard Zeile of Detroit Titania, queen of the fairies – Deborah Irving Puck, or Robin Goodfellow – Karen Savage Peaseblossom – Larysa Jaworski Cobweb – Charlene V. Smith Moth – Alana Jordan Mustardseed – Jamie Ash Young Stage directions – Paul Williams
Fairy song composed by Rosalind Wills; performed by Rosalind Wills and Larysa Jaworski
Another fine performance by LibriVox volunteers. Enjoyed listening to the play.
October 25, 2012 Subject:
A suoprise ending, for me at least
This is the first time I’ve listened to this play, although I’ve seen it performed several times. I didn’t know there was a final act that’s basically unreadable. I understand that its because plays in Shakespeare’s day were basically variety performances, and that he’s just putting in some of the later acts within the frame of the play, but, my goodness, that’s some poor writing from the Bard. No wonder many groups truncate the last Act.